Tepco still can't either cool down reactors to shut them down or contain all the contaminated water.
More than two years into the triple-meltdown crisis at the Fukushima No 1 power plant, workers continue to wage a desperate battle to keep the stricken reactors cool while trying to contain the 400 tons of radioactive water produced by the process each day.
Tokyo Electric Power Co must decommission the three reactors, but the water is thwarting the effort. The decommissioning, if it ever starts, will take decades.
Here are some questions and answers on the encroaching problem and its implications for public health and the environment:
Why is radioactive water accumulating and how much is there?
As of May 7, Tepco had routed 290,000 tons of radioactive water into some 940 huge tanks at the complex, but 94,500 tons remain inside the basement floors of the reactor buildings and other facilities.
Tepco must perpetually pour water over the melted cores of reactors 1, 2, and 3 via makeshift systems to prevent the fuel from melting and burning again.
But the cores’ containment vessels were damaged by the meltdowns, allowing the highly radioactive coolant water to leak and flow into the basements. The dangerous radiation levels have prevented workers from getting close enough to fully assess the damage, let alone start the decommissioning process….
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